Herbs, or botanicals, are medicinal food that provides a resonance to the body that can positively affect a symptom or disease, or support a patient’s Chinese medical pattern of dysharmony.
Herbs are chosen based on the taste, temperature, function, and which organ system(s) they affect.
- Astringes (holds)
- Nourishes the center
Let’s look at a popular herb: Ginger
Ginger in its raw form is called fresh ginger, or Sheng Jiang. It is slightly warm, acrid, and affects the Lungs, Spleen and Stomach. Below are its actions and indications:
- Release the exterior, induce perspiration and dispel cold
- Warm the middle and stop vomiting
Warms the Lungs and stops coughing
- Reduces the toxicity of other herbs and seafood
- Adjusts the Ying and Wei – normalizes the flow of Qi in the center
- Cold in the stomach especially with vomiting
- Cough due to wind-cold
Cough due to Lung deficiency with Phlegm
- Herb toxicity or seafood poisoning
- Wind-Cold with deficiency
Looking at raw ginger’s actions and indications, it can be used on day one of a cold that does not present with heat signs (no sore throat or fever). It can help the immune system push the pathogen out of the skin level so it does not go deeper into the body.
Ginger could be used when there is cold in the stomach. Cold can accumulate in the stomach when there is an injury from exposure – cold water and foods or from long-term use of acid reducers which are cold minerals.
If you were experiencing digestive upset, you could safely try ginger since it is only slightly warm, versus warm to hot in nature.
If you took fresh ginger and dried it, it would become more warming. Dried ginger is also called Gan Jiang.
Dried Ginger is warm to hot in temperature, is acrid, affects the Lungs, Spleen, Stomach, Heart, and slightly affects the Kidneys and Large Intestine.
- Warms the Middle and
- Dispels Wind-Dampness seeping into the Lower Jiao
- Rescues Devastated Yang and expels Interior Cold
- Warms the Lungs and transforms thin mucus
- Warms the channels (unblocks the pulse) and stops bleeding
- External Cold affecting the Spleen and Stomach
Spleen and Stomach Yang Deficiencies
- Lower Jiao Wind-Cold-Damp Bi
- Devastated Yang with a very weak pulse and cold limbs
- Lung Cold with expectoration of thin, watery or white sputum
- Hemorrhage due to Deficiency Cold, especially uterine bleeding (only if the bleeding is chronic and pale in color with cold limbs, ashen white face and a soggy thin pulse)